Editor's Note: Throughout the off-season, DallasCowboys.com staff writers will take a closer look at the roster, analyzing players’ impact last season and how each fits into the team's 2014 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features cornerback Orlando Scandrick.)
Name: Orlando Scandrick
Height/Weight: 5-10 / 195
Experience: 6 seasons
College: Boise State
Key stat: Scandrick had a career-high two picks while leading all members of the secondary with two sacks.
Contract Status: Signed through 2018.
2013 Impact: There have been days where I have not given Orlando Scandrick enough credit for the way that he has played. I have always felt like he was a talented cornerback but there were times where I felt like he didn’t play like one. In 2013, he was the most consistent defensive back that Monte Kiffin and Jerome Henderson put on the field. Despite all the physical issues that Morris Claiborne had to deal with, Scandrick was still a better player and he deserved the right to not only be that key piece as the slot corner but to start on that right side. Before the season, Scandrick was an award winner for his work in the off season program and to me, this is where things started to go in the right direction for him. He improved on his quickness and speed but it also allowed him to become more of a physical player when he was put in those positions. He is not the tallest corner on the squad, but when it came to having to deal with all the different types of receivers that he had to face during the season, he was able to matchup and not give up much like he had in the previous seasons. Where you have to also give Scandrick credit, is once he took the job from Claiborne, he was not going to give it back. This is the second time in his career where he has outplayed a first round selection. He sent Mike Jenkins packing after the 2012 season and even when healthy, Claiborne could not find the field. Love or hate the player, Orlando Scandrick was as valuable as they came for this front office and coaching staff.
Where He Fits: This will be an interesting off season for Orlando Scandrick to see if he once again dedicates himself like he did in 2013. If he does, he will make it difficult for Morris Claiborne to take his job back. If the staff decides to play Claiborne, then Scandrick will be in that role as nickel corner and on alert in case Claiborne’s health fails him like we have seen the previous two seasons. What we have learned about Orlando Scandrick that he will always be ready to play the game mentally and with off season preparation, he will be physically ready as well.
Rowan Kavner: The defensive back who began the season in what many thought would be a battle for the third cornerback spot with B.W. Webb quickly became one of the team’s top corners, if not the top guy. While the majority of the rest of the defense took a step back or didn’t take the anticipated leap forward, Scandrick put together the best season of his career. He vaulted Morris Claiborne on the depth chart and became the team’s starting corner opposite Brandon Carr, but he was also the most versatile corner on the team, so he’d be the guy to shift inside when the Cowboys went to a nickel package. There were still a couple interceptions that went through his grasp, but Scandrick was the most consistent cover player on the team and also demonstrated his ability to get to the quarterback off the edge. He was one of the few defenders to exceed expectations last year.